Based on a number of reports that have come out in recent days, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to make a trade before February’s deadline. The problem facing the team is that they don’t have very many tradeable assets right now. Most of the team’s salary is being paid to three players in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.
LeBron and Davis aren’t going anywhere but Los Angeles could already be having buyer’s remorse with Westbrook. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report recently reported that the Lakers have been open to the idea of dealing the former MVP. However, it’s difficult to see them landing another superstar in return. Fischer believes that only a handful of aging stars could be traded to the team considering their contracts, including Houston Rockets guard John Wall:
Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio’s salaries would match Westbrook’s pricey deal, reuniting James with a former championship counterpart. But that structure would have little interest from the Cavaliers’ side and has not yet been discussed by the two teams, sources said. Outside of Love’s large number, there are simply few players aside from John Wall, for whom Westbrook was traded to Washington last summer, who are available for trade and come close to Westbrook’s earnings.
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Wall Was Already Dealt for Westbrook Once
If the Lakers decided to trade Westbrook for Wall, that would be the second time in two seasons that the guards were swapped for each other. While a deal is possible, it’s not going to happen. Los Angeles doesn’t have any interest in paying Wall over $44 million this season. He was once considered one of the best guards in the NBA but injuries have derailed his career.
Wall hasn’t played in more than 41 games in a season since 2017. He also missed the entire 2019-2020 season and hasn’t played a game yet this season. Wall is only 31-years-old so it’s possible he’s got some solid years left but nobody wants to pay him over $40 million a year right now. Perhaps if he agrees to a buyout, the Lakers could be interested in bringing him in on a minimum contract. Beyond that, there’s no way they’re trading Westbrook for Wall.
It’s Telling Lakers Are Open to Trading Westbrook
It appears that the Lakers were the only ones who didn’t know the Westbrook trade was a mistake upon completion. He’s never been considered a good fit next to Davis and LeBron. Now, it’s not fair to blame the team’s struggles this year entirely on Westbrook. That said, the team started off 21-6 last season with Dennis Schroder as the starting point guard. This year, the team is off to 15-13.
Westbrook will never be a perfect fit next to Davis and LeBron but the Lakers are going to have to make it work. Not many teams are going to be open to trading a superstar for the guard. The Philadelphia 76ers have no interest in swapping Ben Simmons for Westbrook. Like it or not, the Lakers are stuck.